tv CBS Morning News CBS April 28, 2011 4:30am-5:00am EDT
total devastation. at least 83 dead in the south, after a severe weather system spawned a string of deadly tornadoes. >> i've lived in alabama all my life. i've never seen such damage. >> entire neighborhoods are wiped out. states of emergency have been declared. the national guard is on the ground. and the storm system is still on ground. and the storm system is still on the move. captioning funded by cbs good morning, everybody, and thanks for joining us, i'm betty nguyen. a massive and deadly wave of tornadoes has marched through the south, killing at least 83
people in five states. 61 are dead in alabama alone. entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. the destructive storm system spread from texas and this morning has moved to georgia. overnight, tornado watches were posted in eight states. at least 139 tornadoes were reported yesterday. this is the mile-wide twister that tore through hard-hit tuscaloosa, alabama, early last night. it came close to the university of alabama campus. earlier, a tornado tore through birmingham, wiping out entire communities. >> it's almost overwhelming. you know, we don't know how many people are injured or the number of fatalities. but it's extensive. >> emergency federal assistance has been approved for alabama. the storms have disrupted communications, and the national guard has been deployed. terrell brown is in birmingham, alabama, with more today. terrell, what is the situation on the ground now?
>> well, betty, the situation right now, the big issue, is that it's dark. utility crews that would normally be out cleaning up many of those downed trees that are blocking roadways are gone for the night. they'll be back later on in the morning. and then, of course, there are power lines that are down. power lines that not even our crews here can see. there's one stretching across the sidewalk here. another one that's in the roadway, that's nearly invisible right now. even as bad as the situation is here, if you were to travel about 60 miles away, it's even worse, in a place called tuscaloosa. tuscaloosa, alabama, looks like it's been hit by a bomb. homes and buildings were reduced to rubble after a massive tornado touched down wednesday evening. from this closer view you can see debris flying around the tornado as it moves through the city. leaving behind a long path of damage. >> we have hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed. and hundreds more damaged. >> reporter: the powerful storm
system moved through the south with strong thunderstorms, hurricane-force winds, and a wave of tornadoes that spread destruction from texas to georgia. but alabama was hit hardest. around 60 people have been killed and authorities are searching for survivors. president obama has authorized the federal government to coordinate relief efforts. >> i've lived in alabama all my life. i've never seen such damage. >> reporter: a police officer caught this tornado moving through. it flipped trucks, ripped through buildings, and left several blocks decimated. here in this birmingham suburb, the storm ripped off the front of this church and collapsed the roof. it sent cinder blocks and glass flying all over the property. after the tornado hit, rescue crews took the injured to the hospital. but traveling is difficult. many streets are covered in debris. >> thank god. he spared our lives. this whole neighborhood is just erupted. >> reporter: birmingham's mayor toured the damage.
then joined neighbors in prayer. >> we're here to praise you, lord. >> reporter: the south has been battered by storms this spring, and the people here hope the worst is over. and the death toll here, again, betty, staggering. 82 people killed across four states. 61 here alone in alabama. we've been talking to neighbors and friends all night long and they believe that five people were killed alone just in this neighborhood. the governor of alabama expecting the death toll to rise today. betty, we'll send it back to you. >> terrell, the death toll, the pictures. all of it just so tragic. how are residents dealing with so much devastation and loss? >> well, you know, we talked to several residents, not just here but also up north, and coleman county and many of them, betty, just in shock and awe. there was one resident that said hollywood couldn't even create the scene that we've seen here in alabama. there was another woman that said, i don't know what i'm going to do next. this is not something that i could have ever imagined. i could have ever imagined living through and going
through. so, the general sentiment from residents across alabama shocked and awe, betty. >> terrell brown in birmingham. thank you for that live report. well, the browns ferry nuclear power plant in alabama, it had to shut down when it lost power. backup generators kicked in. the tennessee valley authority says outside power has been restored, but the storms did knock out power to thousands. the power authority says it has never experienced a weather event as severe as this. folks in southeast missouri will get a break from the rain today, but flooding continues to be an issue. the levee in poplar bluff has been breached in at least 35 places. the army corps of engineer said it may have to purposely break another missouri levee to ease high water down the river but that would swamp farmland and the state has sued to stop the effort. president obama will
officially announce his new national security team this afternoon. defense secretary robert gates, who plans to leave this summer, will be replaced as the top man at the pentagon by current cia director leon panetta. panetta will be replaced by the top u.s. general in afghanistan, david petraeus. general john allen will take petraeus' place. it was an unprecedented move. the president of the united states producing a detailed birth certificate to prove he was born in the united states. the president says it's time to move on. but the issue is still not resolved for some so-called birthers. susan mcginnis is in washington with more on this. susan, so what's at issue now? >> good morning, betty. well, there still are critics out there that are calling this long form birth certificate a fake so the issue is not going away just yet. the president showed clear frustration at the distraction this has really been from more important issues. but he was also able to joke about it. >> my name is barack obama. i was born in hawaii. >> reporter: the president poked
fun at the issue at a new york fund-raiser last night. >> no one checked my i.d. on the way in. but just in case -- >> reporter: but it was no joking matter when he told white house reporters wednesday it was time to end the birther debate once and for all. >> we do not have time for this kind of silliness. we're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers. >> reporter: the white house released the long form of the president's birth certificate. it includes more details than the short form released three years ago, but shows nothing about the president and his parents that we didn't already know. the issue has been simmering, mostly on the fringe, since president obama began campaigning for the white house. but it's gained some traction recently. according to a recent cbs/"new york times" poll, 25% of americans and 45% of republicans said they believed the president was born outside of the u.s.
>> is it real? is it proper? >> reporter: billionaire businessman and potential presidential contender donald trump has been challenging the white house for weeks to produce the document, and took credit for them doing so. >> i feel i've accomplished something really, really important. and i'm honored by it. >> reporter: so why did the white house release this now? well, advisers say they saw a golden political opportunity, for the president to insist he's focused on the issues that matter, while his critics are not. as for donald trump, betty, it looks like he's latched on to a new issue. he is questioning whether the president's grades in college were good enough to get him into harvard law school. >> all right. susan mcginnis joining us live in washington. thank you. just ahead on the "morning news," a new test to detect autism in children as young as 1. plus, brawl at an ihop? an off-duty police officer is caught on tape hitting a woman. this is the "cbs morning news." we used to bet who could get closest to the edge.
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an argument with police turned violent and is caught on video. two atlanta police officers apparently off duty at the time, fighting with some young women at an ihop restaurant early last saturday. now, it's unclear how it started. but, it got pretty wild, with slaps and punches thrown. and four women arrested. the cop who threw the punch has been placed on administrative leave. in health news a report out this morning says a new test for autism can detect early signs of the disorder in children as young as 1. currently, autism is rarely diagnosed before the age of 3. the study, by researchers at the university of california-san diego, says the five-minute test can give doctors an important head start in beginning treatment. on the "cbs moneywatch," fed chief ben bernanke speaks. and the iphone gets a new color. ashley morrison is here in new york with the latest on all of that.
good morning, ashley. >> good morning to you, betty. a mixed day for the markets in asia. tokyo's nikkei jumped over 1.5%. while hong kong's hang seng dropped a fraction. and oil hit $113 a barrel. its highest level in three years. today, wall street gets the latest reports on gdp and housing, as well as the weekly jobless claim numbers. on wednesday, stocks finished higher. the dow jumped 95 points. the while the nasdaq gained 22. fed chair ben bernanke says he expects a moderate economic recovery to continue through this year. bernanke spoke yesterday at the first of three scheduled news conferences. a first for the fed. bernanke says the unemployment rate will fall slowly, and the central bank confirmed its plans to complete its $600 billion bond buyback program designed to lower interest rates in june. today, chrysler is expected to announce a deal to repay more than $7 billion in government loans. chrysler is now managed by italian automaker fiat.
chrysler owes $5 billion to the u.s. government, and another $1.6 billion to canada. money it borrowed to stay alive during a 2009 bankruptcy filing. apple is denying charges its iphones and ipads keep a record of every move their users make. apple's ceo steve jobs insists the company does not track its customers, it merely records the locations of cell towers and wi-fi hot spots. some can be 100 miles from the user's actual location. jobs did admit the information is stored for up to a year but says that is due to a software error that apple plans to fix. meantime, the long-awaited white iphone 4 goes on sale today. nearly one year later than promised, apple says making the white casing for the phone was more challenging than first thought. it will sell for $200 to $300, depending on the model. betty, i'm sure a lot of people will be looking forward to getting that, finally. >> absolutely.
all right, ashley joining us live here in new york. thank you. straight ahead your thursday morning weather. and in sports the wild shots were flying as the spurs try to stay alive against the grizzlies. [ male announcer ] there's a place where everyone feels at home. where the company, the conversation, and the food make all who enter feel welcome. a place that feels as warm with a crowd... as it does with just a friend. it's a place you'll find town house crackers. because they're part of what makes your place the place. ♪ welcome to town house. where good times reside.
l.a., a sunny 81. time now for a check of the national forecast. the latest satellite picture shows a fast-moving line of thunderstorms over the southeast heading to the northeast and great lakes regions. later today, the entire eastern seaboard will be hit with severe storms. strong wind gusts and heavy rains are likely, as well as a chance of tornadoes. and the northwest has more light showers on the way. in sports, what a game in san antonio. with just seconds left, and the spurs down by three against memphis, a quick three-pointer as time expires to tie the game and send it into overtime. after that, it was all spurs. they go on to beat the grizzlies 110-103. memphis now leads the series 3-2. in miami, dwyane wade scored 26 points and lebron james tossed in 16 to help the heat beat the 76ers, 97-91. they move on for the first time since 2006, and face boston on sunday.
and it promises to be a wild day in the nfl. a judge denied the owners' request yesterday to reimpose a lockout. that means players could return to work today, for file for free agency, just as the college draft gets under way tonight. but the owners say they'll appeal, and try to keep the lockout in place. when we return, another look at this morning's top stories. and kate middleton getting ready to spend her last day as a commoner. ♪ [ water running ] [ indistinct talking on television ] hola padre. hola. [ male announcer ] you do everything so they're at their best. so start their big days with the incredible protein. eggs.
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morning's top story. a wave of tornadoes that marched across the south has killed at least 83 people in five states. most died in alabama, where twisters obliterated parts of tuscaloosa and birmingham, wiping out homes and businesses. a nuclear power plant lost power and was forced to use backup generators. georgia, mississippi and tennessee have also been hit hard. hundreds of thousands have lost power and states of emergencies have been declared in at least four states. arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords is at the kennedy space center in florida this morning. giffords was seen in public yesterday for the first time since being shot in january. making her way up the stairs of the nasa jet that flew her from houston. tomorrow, if all goes as planned, she will see the launch of the shuttle "endeavour," commanded by her husband, astronaut mark kelly. in london, this is the day before the big day. tomorrow, prince william and kate middleton will tie the
royal knot, and true to english form, there could be some rain on their parade. charlie d'agata is in london with the latest on all of this. good morning, charlie. >> good morning to you, betty. the palace has released the official wedding program, available online now, anyway. in it, the first message says they're incredibly moved by the affection shown to william and kate. and they say that they're delighted everyone can join in what they hope will be one of the happiest days of their lives. kate middleton ducked into the goring hotel late last night with her family by her side. she'll spend her last night as a commoner there. her fiance, prince william, is staying at the royal residence at clarence house, with his dad prince charles, and best man prince harry. the bride and groom both left westminster abbey beaming wednesday after getting one last chance to run through the ceremony. with just one day to go before the wedding, the city of london is buzzing with excitement, and last-minute preparations.
wedding flowers are being delivered. security teams are scouring the procession route. the military has even rehearsed the fly path that will take place on the big day. the temperature has really dropped in london, and forecasters are calling for a chance of rain on the wedding day. still, nothing can dampen the spirits that die-hard fans who've camped out for days. >> even a thunderstorm i feel like it will still be fun. we'll be miserable but it will be fun. >> reporter: if wet weather moves in, the couple will have to leave the abbey in this glass coach, which could make it difficult for hundreds of thousands of spectators to get a good look. >> if the couple come back from their wedding in a closed carriage, i think they're going to go mental. so we really want to see the newlyweds. we want to appreciate them. we want a full look at the dress. >> reporter: there would be one upside to the bad weather, tradition has it that rain on your wedding day is good luck. i, for one, am prepared for anything. i've got my umbrella, my binoculars and my official royal wedding sick bag.
betty? >> all right. fully stocked and prepared, charlie d'agata in london, thank you. and the cbs news staff will have live coverage of the royal wedding beginning tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. eastern. woman: till all the books are read... man: and all the pens are put down... woman: and everything there is to learn is learned. man: till the heroes retire and the monsters return to their dens... woman: and all the plots are wrapped up. man: till that day... boy: by hook or by crook... girl: by book or by nook... woman: i will read. [ lane ] here's the trouble with most anti-wrinkle creams. the cream disappears but your wrinkles don't. ♪ introducing neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it has the fastest retinol formula available.
another warm and humid day. >> that is going to be part of the weather story. we've had an active tornado warnings in effect for washington, frederick and carroll counties. this will go until 5:15. we will see the warnings popping in and out of the fra. tough weather between now and noon, big details coming up. two of the treat of tornadoes here, the reality of tornadoes to the south. the damage is serious and widespread. a strange settlement two years after a teenager is beaten
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